“Just as our families are defined by their function in society, so are we defined by our roles as representatives of those families. We are here before you not as people, but as the beginning and end points of a decision-making process.“
All Chiss Houses can trace their lineage back to before Csilla was gripped in an ice age. Most, if not all Chiss are related to one of the notable houses throughout the Ascendancy. As the Ascendancy grew and expanded it became necessary to assign a family to act as caretaker over that world.
In time these families rose above the beauracracy of traditional democratic governments and turned the Ascendancy into an oligarchy. These ruling families form today what is known as the Council of Families. Over the years this Council has grown and shrunk depending on the socio-political framework of the Ascendancy. Today this Council stands at three ruling families.
The head of a House is known as the Aristocra and may appoint another member of the House to act as Speaker. In the Years of Antiquities the Council of Families were known as the Aristocra, as time has passed however this name has fallen into obscurity and is remembered more as a formal title than representative of all the Houses.
Originally mid-level members of a Ruling House. By the end of the Second Vagaari War, Aristocra were not merely Great Houses brought into the patronage of a Ruling House, those seated on the Syndicure were now known as Ruling Aristocra.
Historically, Aristocra served until, death, retirement, or exile. However, recent reforms have made the Aristocracy an office subject to an annual election within the House, but only Blood Born may run as candidates.
Each Chiss Family had a Speaker who was authorized to speak on behalf of the House. This eventually evolved into a Regency role for heirs too young to take House leadership. A Speaker was appointed by the Patriarch as a trusted advisor. The role would further evolve and be renamed Syndics, until the restoration of the role under the 7th Chiss Ascendancy.
Originally existing in three tiers: Blood – those who could claim direct descent from a House founder,Cousins – those whose claim was by an ancestor who had married into the Family, and Ranking Distants – Those whose ancestors had been Trial Born but were not granted this status after generations of loyal service.
In recent years, this has all be subsumed by the Blood Born status, immediately qualifying them to the Aristocracy, with the old ranks only marginally recognized and some Houses ignoring those differences altogether.
Speakers who are Chiss are considered Blood Born
Blood Born must be Chiss.
Those members who had proven themselves and had passed the House Trials. A House could have as few as two or as many as nine trials. A Trial Born in recent years does many of the same mid-tier tasks the Aristocra of the ancient times would do. With the increased immigration of non-chiss, Trial Born status has been an avenue for inclusion. With those Houses that permit Non-Chiss to join granted this status to those Non-Chiss who have earned a position of trust.
Speakers who are not Chiss are considered Trial Born.
Those who are new to the House. A merit adoptive has been invited to the house based on their deeds. Historically, a Merit Adoptive who had been offered House Membership due to duty in the CEDF was expelled from the House when their term of service ended. This was done to prevent those who had been Merit Adoptives from exploiting their status in retirement while offering no benefit to the House. By the end of the First Vagaari War,Chiss Houses began to use more broad criteria and some Houses even allowing Non-Chiss to join.
Joining and Leaving the House
One may only join a House by invitation. A Citizen or Resident may request admission into a Chiss House, but may only be granted in accordance with Chiss Law. Residents who are granted admission become Citizen
Historically, a House member could leave a House either through expulsion via Exile or voluntary withdrawal(the social and economic benefits of House Membership were so great very few choose this other option).
In recent years, those who voluntarily withdraw from one House may join another Chiss House. This concept was codified into Chiss Law as “Merit of Power”, the idea created by Rachel Keiko-sho that no Chiss House benefit at the expense of another.
With this concept of mind, Merit Adoptives have been allowed to transfer Houses as long as their current Aristocra is notified. Trial Born and above must be given approval by their Aristocra.
Virtue of Service and Merit of Power
In modern Chiss Law, these concepts are recognized as foundational to what a Chiss House is and should be. Failure to meet one puts a House at risk of Dissolution or Exile
Failure to meet both guarantees it
Virtue of Service is the requirement that all House Members are, in their own way, contributing to the growth of the Chiss Ascendancy and the House. This is to prevent a House from bloating itself by having those who receive all the benefits of being in a Chiss House but contribute nothing to it.
Merit of Power is the requirement that the Chiss House itself contributes to the Chiss Ascendancy. In earlier times, this was done by managing territory, overseeing an aspect of the Chiss Ascendancy Government.
Predating the CEDF, the Household Phalanxes were the personal guards of a Chiss House. Their duty was to protect the personnel and property of the House, especially the Patriarch(later Aristocra) and other senior members of the House.
Historically, Household Phalanxes were prohibited from being larger than the CEDF.
Household Phalanxes used the same ranks as the CEDF, as they were the origin of the ranks the CEDF used(with the exception of the Supreme Admiral and Supreme General ranks, which were created for the CEDF).
Household Phalanxes were officially led by the CEDF, but were commanded by a Blood(later Blood-Born) member of the House. All members of the Household Phalanx were members of the Household Phalanxes
Historical data shows that during the Years of Antiquities, important members of a House, traditionally those who led it would have shadow children to protect their bloodline. These children were offspring who were kept anonymous and hidden away from public life. In the event of a bloodline being terminated, these shadow children could reclaim their heritage through genetic testing. In modern times this practise hasn’t been adopted as much but it is not unusual that at times, someone may claim to be a shadow child of a House now lost to obscurity.
The Vesci is a collective designation given to fallen Chiss Houses. All of these Houses at one time started off as a noble House but have now fallen from grace. These Houses openly operate against the Ascendancy or trade in illegal technologies, drugs and other contraband deemed offensive to Chiss society.